Jitters over dual job sizing

PROMOTED staff in secondaries may have to go through two job sizing exercises in a little over two years if authorities slim management structures in line with what they believe is the spirit of the McCrone agreement.

All promoted posts by next August will have to be reassessed for their worth on a revised pay scale and councils intent on further reform will be forced to repeat the same procedure shortly after.

Councillors in Dumfries and Galloway and Aberdeen this week were advised that management structures "better suited to modern learning and teaching" would be brought in at the same time as existing postholders were assessed. The old system was based on pupil rolls, now it is value to the school.

Aberdeen officials warn: "There is a fundamental issue about reviewing these promoted posts in their current roles as we know that the posts of senior teacher, assistant principal teacher and assistant headteacher will disappear from August 2003 and that, at the very least, the roles of principal teachers and depute headteachers are bound to change or be affected as a result of this. Consequently, a repeat job sizing exercise will be necessary from that time."

The city says that "most authorities" intend to "start putting in place substantially different management and support structures in schools during the next one to two years which will have implications for numbers and grades of promoted posts".

Christine Pollock, who heads the directors' McCrone committee, said that the job sizing toolkit devised by management consultants would bring stability in the longer term. It is currently being used to assess 240 teachers in 10 authorities before final approval in October. "At any point in the future, if you want a new structure, you could use the same tool," Ms Pollock said.

But Jim Docherty, assistant secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers'

Association, said: "If the job changes, there will have to be another job sizing exercise. If management wants to look at restructuring, they are not going to do this under the guise of job sizing."

The McCrone agreement was quite clear that the exercise was based on existing posts. "There is a degree of trepidation among staff and a degree of disquiet about the abandonment of the principle of being paid the same. Nothing like this has ever been done before," Mr Docherty said.

The union is campaigning to retain the present number of promoted posts. "The work is not going to be carried out by unpromoted teachers and the work of senior management staff will not be carried out by new principal teachers," Mr Docherty said.

In Dumfries and Galloway, officials report various concerns about the 35-hour week, including "the belief that it is simply not possible to undertake all necessary tasks within 35 hours; significant reduction in time available for development work and whole-school activities; (and) concerns that there is now 'less for more'."

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